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Apron Sampler

Curated Submission
Winnipeg, Manitoba
1911 - 1912
DIMENSIONS in centimetres
38 x 39.4
Materials & techniques
Cotton; Needlework, pulled thread work
Gift of M.D. Fleming
Manitoba Crafts Museum and Library 442.00
Completed in 1912, this apron is a sampler sewn by an elementary school student. The maker’s name is not recorded, but we know she was a student in Grade 5 or 6 at Mulvey School in Winnipeg and that the apron was made for a sewing teacher named Miss Meikle. Ideas of what constituted a “proper” girl’s education were very different at the turn of the 20th century than they are today. Girls were expected to learn domestic skills at school, and sewing and needlework formed an important part of their curriculum. They were taught basic stitching and garment construction, as well as a variety of embroidery techniques. As part of this education, girls would regularly create samplers to demonstrate their accomplishments and mastery of various stitches.
A typical sampler takes the form of a panel embroidered with various motifs, letters, and numbers and is worked with a wide variety of stitches. It serves both as a testament to the maker’s skill and as a reference for future work. This apron sampler, in contrast, is primarily a demonstration of fundamental sewing skills. It has two small patch pockets and ties to attach it at the waist. A manufactured tape lace trim runs along the edges and there is some decoration with pulled thread work.
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